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TEL AVIV, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky were on hand Tuesday morning to welcome 238 new Israeli citizens from the U.S. and Canada.

"For the first time in 2,000 years, there are going to be more Jews in Israel than outside it," the prime minister told the new arrivals.

"Because of your effort and our efforts, we are close to six million Jews and the number is going to grow and grow and grow because the future of Jews is here in Israel," the prime minister said.

Hundreds of Israelis came to welcome the new arrivals to the Jewish homeland, with singing and dancing.

Fifty-five of new olim (immigrants) will be inducted into the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the largest number to arrive as a group.

Nefesh b'Nefesh chairman Tony Gelbart said Israel is the only country in the world in which "the prime minister greets new immigrants."

"We appeal to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to join the Jewish people in Israel," Gelbart said.

Nefesh b'Nefesh, founded in 2002 by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Gelbart, assists Jews from North America and the United Kingdom to make aliya (immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return).

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, israel national news

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